Bay Area Practice Period 2021
Teachings of the Platform Sutra
September 18th – November 20th
This year again, because of the pandemic, all events will be held on Zoom with one optional exception. Every other week, our dharma seminar will follow a hybrid format, both in-person and online (see below).
Our annual Sesshin will also be on Zoom, beginning in the late afternoon of Monday, October 25, and ending the evening of Saturday, Oct 30, at about 9 pm.
Below you will find a list of Dharma events you can attend as part of Practice Period, including our daily sit, our weekly dharma seminar, monthly all-day sits, a Platform Sutra study group, a Sunday evening study and practice group on Loving-Kindness meditation, and the sesshin.
Because all events are online, we can offer much more than we usually do, including many ongoing offerings by our family of Everyday Zen Dharma teachers. Core events are listed below. We encourage you to attend as many of these as possible. An expanded schedule that also includes offerings from our Dharma teachers will be sent to Practice Period participants with the welcome email.
Registration for Practice Period opens on September 3 with the launch of Everyday Zen’s new website. Registration will close one week later, on September 10, to give us time to read and process everyone’s applications.
To register for the Practice Period, you will complete an application form on the new Everyday Zen website. The link for this will be sent to the mailing list on September 3. Suggested donation for Practice Period is $100.
Registration for sesshin will open in early October. To register, you will complete an application on the new website. Suggested donation for sesshin is $100.
All other events, including sittings and seminars, are by donation and do not require an application. For seminar, all-day sits, and select other events, we will be moving to a new system at the start of Practice Period for sending out Zoom links and event reminders. Watch for an announcement about a week before each of these events with instructions on how to sign up to receive the Zoom link and event reminders.
Everyday Zen is grateful for and depends on your donations for events, as you can make them. Note that when you access events sponsored by our affiliate groups, donations should go directly to those groups.
Each year for Practice Period a senior practitioner from the sangha serves as Shuso (head monk). The Shuso offers inspiration, guidance, and serves as a central point of connection for the Practice Period. This year, as we gather online, the Shuso’s function as connector and focal point will be more important than ever.
I am pleased that our Shuso for this Fall’s Practice Period will be Eva Bovenzi (Seiun Soshin, Blue Cloud, Brave Faith) who has been practicing with the Everyday Zen sangha for decades. Eva is a wonderful painter and an exceptionally soulful practitioner. She has been spending her summer preparing for the Practice Period and I look forward to her talks and her presence in the “first seat.”
Zen Practice Periods include two important ceremonies for the Shuso. The Shuso Entering Ceremony installs the Shuso into her position and the Practice Period culminates with the Dharma Inquiry Ceremony (Shuso Hossenshiki) during which the Shuso responds to questions from Practice Period participants. These ceremonies bookend the Practice Period in a beautiful way.
Our theme for this Practice Period is the Teachings of the Platform Sutra.
We will primarily use Red Pine’s great translation of this text, which is seminal for Zen and for the Sinicization of Buddhism.
As always, we will contemplate and discuss the text for its direct relevance to our practice, as we try to live the Dharma in the contemporary world of Everyday Zen.
We ask that all Practice Period participants plan on attending several events each week, including, especially, daily sitting, the weekly dharma seminar, the monthly all-day sittings on September 18, October 9, and November 20, the opening and closing ceremonies, the ceremonies for the Shuso, and any other events you find of interest. We encourage you to attend sesshin but recognize this might not be possible for everyone.
Of course, “events” do not constitute the Practice Period, they only structure it. What happens in your body and mind as you live the days weeks and months of the Practice Period is what’s important.
In addition to scheduled events, we include the practice of meeting with a sangha partner and, if requested and available, a practice leader. Since this is a non-residential practice period, it may be especially helpful to have a sangha partner with whom to discuss your practice and experience over the course of the Practice Period.
At the beginning of the Practice Period, everyone will be assigned a sangha partner. A sangha partner is a person in the Practice Period with whom you speak on the phone, via Zoom/Skype, or in-person at least 4 times during the Practice Period. If you like, you can request a particular person to partner with and if possible we will assign that person to you. Suggestions about how to keep your communication focused and practice-oriented will be sent to participants after the start of Practice Period.
In addition, for those who also feel the need to discuss their practice with a more experienced member of our community, a number of Everyday Zen teachers and senior students are available during Practice Period to discuss your practice with you. If you would like to request a Practice Leader, please indicate this on your application. We will make every attempt to assign a Practice Leader to everyone who requests one but please know that our resources are limited. Practice Leaders will be assigned to those who request one on a first-come, first-served basis.
All times are given in Pacific Time. All meetings are on Zoom — but note that every other week Dharma Seminar will also be in person for those who can attend. Instructions on receiving Zoom links and reminders will be sent to Practice Period participants via the mailing list except where otherwise noted.
September 21, 3:00 pm: Shuso Entering Ceremony
October 11, 4:00 – 5:30 pm. Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day
with Jaune Evans and friends
October 25-30: Sesshin
November 23, 3:00: Shuso Hosenshiki Ceremony
Thank you for joining us in our 17th Annual Practice Period — our second Practice Period on Zoom. We’re grateful for another opportunity to intensify our practice together, supported by the extended family of Everyday Zen practitioners and with the leadership of our Shuso.
If you have questions, please email Laura Trippi.